Bob Aul/OC Weekly
Eyewitness statements can be notoriously unreliable, a fact Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) detective Andy Alvarez knew when he investigated a 2009 attempted-murder case that happened near South Coast Plaza. He'd spent half of his then-14-year career as a California Highway Patrol officer, earned the rank of SAPD sergeant and served as a teacher at a Southern California police academy, as well as an "analytical thinking" instructor for Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) agency.
At the outset, at least, the vicious, attempted murder of three teenagers created the usual mystery for Alvarez: Who were the gun-toting assailants, and why had they committed the bloody crime? The victims--Brian Marin, Carlos Vega and Manuel Ventura--were next to a 1992 Acura Integra when a Jeep loaded with what they described as "Hispanics" approached. A man wearing a red, hooded sweat shirt emerged from the left rear passenger side and demanded to know their gang affiliation by asking, "Where you from?"More »